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Is "good" enough?

"There are no two words in the English language more harmful than good job.''' from the movie Whiplash (2014)

Some years ago I asked a candidate for a job what kind of employee she would be. "I will be a good employee who does a good job for you," she replied. Reflecting on the interview after she left, I realized I would not hire her because all her answers led back to “good,” not “great.”

The word good means “of somewhat high but not excellent quality,” according to Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary--and that’s what I heard in this young woman’s answers. I did not want to employ someone who was happy to go to work every day and do a “good” job. No, I wanted a great employee who would do a phenomenal job.

None of us would want a dentist or surgeon who did only a “good” job, would we? We would want one who did a “great” job--someone driven by a passion for excellence in every day’s work. Inspiring examples of that kind of passion include Steve Jobs, J. K. Rowling and Usain Bolt. Imagine if Steve Jobs aimed to create a “good” phone, J. K. Rowling set out to write a “good” book, or Usain Bolt strove to be a “good” sprinter. Not very inspiring, is it?

Come to think of it, how many mission statements say “X” organization aspires to do a “good job’” Such a statement would diminish any customer’s faith. Offering a “good” enough experience to consumers is never good enough in today’s competitive marketplace.

 An example: I have stayed in hotels whose brochures promoted a “state-of-the-art fitness center” that turned out to be anything but. While the marketers were delusional when writing the copy, someone decided these centers were good enough. They’re not. Visitors know it and tell others. Another example: My parents live in a senior living community that serves unappetizing mush at mealtimes. Someone decided this food was good enough. It’s not. Residents know it and tell friends and family members. These are the kinds of challenges possible when someone decides “good” is enough--with consequences ranging from customer dissatisfaction to loss of business to damaging word-of-mouth.Customers deserve the best we can offer them. People may be attracted by top-notch lifestyle options and services, for example, but they need to know they will get “great” care when needed and customer service.

What we expect of our employees and ourselves depends on how we wish to deliver our services as well as the staff and environments we choose to support this vision. It starts with making a choice about how we want to run a business, hire staff or choose an employer. In affordable housing, for example, “great” can mean the staff you hire, the service you offer and the environment you foster. So what does “great” look like for your organization?

Strive for greatness, whatever that means to you, your staff, your employers and your customers. You may be the next Steve Jobs, creating and delivering greatness that ripples out to touch--and enrich--the lives of many people every day. Starting with the one in the mirror.

 

Author
Colin Milner, CEO, International Council on Active Aging®

Note: This information is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified healthcare professional and is not intended as medical advice. It is intended as a sharing of knowledge and information from research. The view expressed here are not necessarily those of the ICAA, we encourage you to make your own health and business decisions based upon your research and in partnership with a qualified professional.

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